A parade last month marking North Korea's 73rd anniversary was seen as unusually subdued, with a focus on civil defense units instead of military might. But Kim Jong Un more than made up for it at an event Monday, where he spoke after reviewing a variety of large missiles, including some designed to hit the US mainland, the AP reports. The North Korean leader accused the US of destabilizing the Korean Peninsula and vowed to build an "invincible military" as a deterrent. "The US has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” Kim said, per the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
Military expert Yang Wook from South Korea's Hannam University says the missiles on display at Monday's exhibition of weapons systems appear to include a new ICBM that hasn't been test-fired yet and a hypersonic missile that was tested last month. Yang tells the AP that Pyongyang wants to send the message, "We’ll continue to develop new weapons and arm ourselves with nuclear force, so don’t slap sanctions with these as we can’t agree on the double standards."
Kim "didn't just talk about his new military might—he showed it to us," says Laura Bicker at the BBC. "This was the equivalent of a military parade. We have not seen this kind of defense exhibition since Mr Kim took power." She notes that just days before the exhibition, he urged officials to improve the lives of ordinary North Koreans in grim economic circumstances, which raises the question: "With limited funds and under strict economic sanctions, can he really build an 'invincible' force and help his people?"